Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Renaissance logo

GATHER round your Uncle John children, and I will tell you a story. Are you sitting comfortably? Good, then I will begin.

A long time ago, back when we had a ozone layer and rain forests, some kindly Japanese gentleman took a brak from killing whales and invented video games. Hmm? What was that? My hearing is not so good these days, my little friends. What were whales? Ahh, well you see whales were mighty sea creatures that were mad extinct. They were very gentle and intelligent animals, their only fault being that they were too easy to catch.

What was I talking about? Oh yes, video games. Yes children, these games were once very popular among young ones like yourselves. Push my chair over to my old computer and I will show you, with this disc called Renaissance. Watch as it loads, children. Yes, it does take some time, doesn't it. Time for some cocoa I should think. Thanks for asking.

In chronological order, the games we have here are called Invaders, Asteroids, Galaxians and Centipede. Except that they have all been given new non-copyright infringing names. Seems strange that Impressions can claim the games are faithful to the originals and yet remain afraid to keep the names. Would anyone really mind after all these years? Probably. In the old days they would have got away with it.

Pass me my pipe, please child. Thank you. Now on this disc we have two versions of each game - a classic version and a contemporary one. The classic versions keep the 1970s and early 1980s graphics and gameplay.

Ahh, what games they were... state of the art back then, believe it or not children. Unfortunately, I have seen better implementations on 8 bit computers, such as - my memory is going - I think they started with a B, ended with a C and had a B in the middle. These versions also had a keyboard option, something sadly missing from Renaissance. Maybe it is just me, but I simply cannot play Asteroids, er, I mean Rockstorm with a joystick. Back in the old days joysticks were an expensive luxury. I even tried to build my own once, using a bolt and a rubber washer. Ah, those were the days...

What's that, child? What does contemporary mean? I think it means "the same game but with grey and orange graphics". Oh, and the backdrops have changed too. The instructions say the contemporary versions have more features, but they only seem to make the classic games look all the better.

Back in the old money, a game such as this cost about 20 British pounds. Since there are eight games in total, this means each game costs, let me see, two-and-a-half pounds each. That is strange, that is about how much a public domain game costs. Just one of those things, I suppose.

Oh dear, my eyesight is fading. Bring me back to my bed, young ones, it is time for my midafternoon nap. Yes, you can play on with the games. They are strangely addictive, aren't they? And that four-player option means you can all take turns, without fighting.

It is certainly nice to see those games again after all this time. And all on one disc, too. What nice people those chaps at Impressions were.